Zero FIR, online police complaint, videography of crime scene… know what is new in the new criminal laws

Ananya Shroff
7 Min Read

New Delhi : 'Zero' FIRs, online filing of police complaints, electronic summons and mandatory videography of crime scenes for all heinous crimes are the key features of three new criminal laws that will come into force from July 1. The Indian Justice Code 2023, the Indian Civil Protection Code 2023 and the Indian Evidence Act 2023 are a significant step towards empowering Indian citizens. They aim to ensure a more accessible, supportive and effective justice system for all, official sources said. These new laws, passed last year, will replace the British-era Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act respectively.

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You can also file a report without going to the police station

Under the new laws, now any person can report the incident through electronic communication without going to the police station. This will make it easier and faster to register a case and prompt action can be taken by the police.

Zero FIR will eliminate the issue of jurisdiction

With 'Zero' FIR, now any person can lodge an FIR in any police station, even if the crime has not occurred in the jurisdiction of that police station. This will eliminate delays in initiating legal proceedings and crime complaints can be registered immediately. Under the new laws, victims will be given a free copy of the FIR, ensuring their participation in the legal process.

Right to give information to a person of one's choice in case of arrest

Another interesting aspect of the new law is that in case of arrest, a person has been given the right to inform any person of his choice about his condition. This will enable the arrested person to get immediate help.

Besides, the arrest details will be prominently displayed at police stations and district headquarters so that the family and friends of the arrested person can easily access the important information.

Videography of crime scene is mandatory in serious cases
To strengthen the case and investigation, it has been made mandatory for forensic experts to visit the crime scene and collect evidence for serious crimes. Apart from this, the process of collecting evidence from the crime scene will be compulsorily videographed so that any kind of tampering with the evidence can be prevented. Sources said that this step will increase the quality and credibility of the investigation.

The new laws prioritise the investigation of crimes against women and children so that investigations are completed within two months of the filing of the report. Under the new laws, victims will have the right to receive regular information about the progress of their case within 90 days.

Under the new law, victims of crime against women and children will be provided free first aid or medical treatment in all hospitals. This provision ensures that the victim gets the necessary medical facility immediately.

Summons sent electronically will be valid
Subpoenas can now be sent electronically, thereby speeding up the legal process, reducing paperwork and ensuring effective communication between all parties.

In certain crimes against women, the statement of the victim shall be recorded and as far as possible, the statement shall be recorded by a woman Magistrate and in her absence, a male Magistrate shall record the statement of the victim in the presence of a woman.

Now both the accused and the victim have been given the right to receive the FIR, police report, charge sheet, statements, confession and other documents within 14 days.

To avoid unnecessary delay in hearing of the case and to provide timely justice, the courts can adjourn the hearing of the case a maximum of two times.

The new law makes it mandatory for all State Governments to implement a Witness Protection Scheme to ensure the safety and cooperation of witnesses and to enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the legal process.

The definition of 'gender' now includes transgender, promoting inclusivity and equality.

In order to provide greater protection to the victim and to promote transparency in investigation in respect of any offence of rape, the statement of the victim shall be recorded by the police through audio-video means.

Women and elderly people will be exempted from coming to the police station
Women, persons below 15 years of age, persons above 60 years of age and persons suffering from disability or serious illness will be exempted from coming to the police station and can avail police assistance at their place of residence.

A new chapter has been added in the Indian Judicial Code specifically to deal with crimes against women and children, which will provide them protection and justice.

The new law provides for community service for minor crimes to promote personal development and social responsibility. Community service will give offenders a chance to make a positive contribution to society, learn from their mistakes, and build strong community ties.

All three bills were passed in the winter session last year
Under the new laws, the penalties imposed for certain offences have been linked to the severity of the offence. Legal procedures have been simplified to make them easier to understand and follow and to ensure fair justice.

Parliament discussed and passed these bills in the winter session last year. A total of 37 members of the Lok Sabha and 40 members of the Rajya Sabha participated in the discussion.

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